January 1st, I decided to give vegetarianism a try.
Some years ago, for about a 14 months, I gave up meat cold tofu. I was incredibly thin but not necessarily healthy as I really didn't do it the right way. I ate a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches and just other variations of crap that I deemed appropriate for a vegetarian diet.
Thinking back, my reasons for going "veggie" really did not have anything to do with animals being mistreated nor chickens being left to die. It had more to do which me wanting to know everything I put in my body.
The words on most of the packaging baffled me. Meat was being injected with water, or coloring agents, or God knows what else.
As far as pork, I haven't had a piece of pig voluntarily since high school (over 15 years). When I say voluntarily, I am sure there are people throughout my journey who willingly and delibrately slid a piece of Miss Piggy in something that I was assured was pig-free.
People who aren't supportive of the change (not sure why it even matters to them) will do everything in their power to stop progress.
Yes, we're talking about meat here.
After going so long without eating it, when I do ingest pork , I become pretty sick. We are talking vomiting, lose bowels and fever.
Possibly, my body is just used to pork not being a part of my diet.
My decision to give up pork many years ago is not even remotely religious, it all began in my senior year Biology class. My teacher, Mr. Houchens, provided the class with a peculiar experiment: one that provided us all with the opportunity to see the organisms or parasites that lived in meat.
The meats were beef, chicken and pork and they were of cooked and of raw states. We watched our teacher fill wide bottomed bottles full of lab alcohol and then he dropped a piece of each of the meats in the liquid.
The beef and chicken, cooked and uncooked, provided little entertainment but the pork was a whole other story.
In the time of our class period, the cooked AND uncooked pork developed tiny squiggly worm-like organisms that pushed their way out of the meat as if trying to escape.
Granted, the cooked piece of pork produced less worm-things (I'm not a biology grad), the fact that the organisms were still present on a cooked piece of pork chop is what made me sick to my stomach.
To make matters worse, I went home after school to see that my father had freshly fried pork chops waiting for dinner. I felt like I was telling my father the worst thing ever when I told him, "I am never eating pork again."
Oddly, my dad was supportive.
My dad the king of the kitchen with his Cajun & Creole creations based on pork fat and hocks as big as your head: modified his meals to include one portion that I could eat and a large portion for everyone else.
This time, I'm giving up meat for another reason: My family history.
On both sides of my family, everyone, and I mean everyone has diabetes. The grand majority have died of illnesses closely associated to meat consumption (stroke, heart attack, cancer, and diabetes complications).
No matter how you slice it (pun intended) bad food has been the killer.
My memories fall back to my father, who passed away in 2004, recovering from an amputation due to diabetes, eating barbecue smothered ribs at Famous Dave's.
I remember being so upset with him and wondering what it would take for him to stop destroying his arteries. I found the answer when a massive stroke rendered him incapable.
I want to be alive for my daughter's graduation and be present at her wedding. If I continue eating bad then the odds are against me.
I'm 33 but people are dying from food related diseases at a much younger age and now is the time to make a change.
Who knows, if I lead by example, I may inspire many others. I really can't trick myself to believe that I am missing meat, I need to understand that I am gaining so much more by choosing to cut it out of my diet.
Sure, I may fall off the bandwagon someday but I'll never give up trying to climb back on. That is what's important.
Thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed this. Feel free to leave your comments in the comments. Follow me on twitter too @therealjoyrene.
Yep, you're welcome!